This week is Mental Health Awareness week (10-16 May).Advertisement
Ensuring that their staff are well cared for, BAE Systems has over 300 mental health first aiders across the UK.
The mental health first aiders act as an initial point of contact for anyone experiencing mental health challenges, and they can signpost people to get the help they need.
Mental health first aiders will engage in non-judgemental conversation, recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and effectively signpost a person towards the appropriate support at the earliest opportunity.
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They are there to listen, reassure and respond to those who need support.
All BAE Systems mental health first aiders complete a two day training course in delivering Mental Health First Aid which is governed by Mental Health England, and they are also offered ongoing support to expand their knowledge of mental health.
Stacey from Chorley, Lancashire who works for BAE Systems’ Air Business, said: “Following completion of some physical first aid training, I was advised that the company were looking for some further volunteers to become a mental health first aider. I jumped at the chance.
“I have had difficulties with my mental health myself in the past and the support I received at the time made such a big difference in helping me get through it. I wanted to be able to offer this support to others, as I had received at my time of need.
“My mental health issues started in 2005 after losing my sister age 18 to a heart condition. I also suffered from post-natal depression following the birth of my first son in 2008.
“I have managed to cope with these huge life challenges and come out the other side and I think it helps me relate to others with anxiety and depression when you have been though your own personal experiences. I would hope it gives them hope that if I can do it, so can they.
“There is no one solution or one answer to suit all when it comes to mental health. We learn to cope and deal with things over time in our own ways.
“The biggest recommendation from me is talking. Taking that first step to talk to someone about how you are feeling honestly, whether it be a family member, friend, work colleague, mental health first aider, or doctor.
“By talking, you are sharing the weight that poor mental health can have on you. Talking makes you realise you are not alone in this; there are others out there that have experienced similar things and have come out the other side.”
The company has several other initiatives in place to support employees, including a newly launched Unmind app, a Mental Health Employee Resource Group, 24-hour Employee Assistance Programme, a pledge to the Mental Health Commitment, and support to charities who help veterans with their mental health.
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